Brian Orakpo: 'The NFL is getting tougher and tougher to judge each and every year. I wonder how long this league is going to last, honestly'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans botched plenty on their own in Miami, and simply didn’t play well enough to start the Mike Vrabel era with a win.

Generally, I want to steer clear of officiating complaints, as I am a believer that things even out. But they weren’t even and didn’t even out for Tennessee in Week 1.

Brian Orakpo said the way the NFL is now officiated has changed the way he plays.OrakpoProfile

“You used to err on more aggressive, but the one time you err on more aggressive you get called and it just ruins that possession and that is an automatic first down, tack another 15 and you not only put the team in a bind, you put the defense in a bind because now you have to play some more plays,” he said.

“It’s just a tough scenario, man. The NFL is getting tougher and tougher to judge each and every year. I wonder how long this league is going to last, honestly."

Orakpo said he loves the player safety but says the frequent calls hurt drives, possession, momentum.

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Scouting notes: Jonnu Smith is not ready to take over for Delanie Walker

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- This was a disastrous game for the Titans in so many ways. The loss was the most insignificant thing of all that transpired on Sunday.

They endured the length of the game, injuries to arguably the three best players on the Titans’ roster and the inconsistency from both the offense and defense. 

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The unfortunate realization is the team will be without the Titans’ best offensive weapon in Delanie Walker going forward. Others will have to step up and young players that needed to grow and develop will now be doing that playing in a prime position.

Marcus Mariota started hot in the game. He used the short passes and the run game to control the clock while moving the ball downfield. Unfortunately, the team was only able to come up with 3 points on those first two drives. 

The fourth-and-goal stop by the Dolphins ended up being the momentum swing they needed. The offense took over and started to wear down the Titans’ defense down with a short-passing game and a mixture of inside and outside runs. It all produced a 98-yard touchdown drive. 

The Titans’ decision to go for it on fourth down was a gamble that didn’t pay off. The play call was tough because it was a one-option pass route. Mariota said afterward he needed to put Corey Davis in better position to take the catch into the end zone.

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Titans bemoan 'cheap shot' on Taylor Lewan, Dolphins' celebration of it

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Concussed, Taylor Lewan sat in his locker waiting on the rest of the Titans to get cleaned up and ready to go.

IMG 4583In that state, he’s not allowed to talk to the press, but he didn’t seem to mind listening to a few of his linemates talk about the hit that knocked him out of the game.

As safety Reshad Jones returned the first of his two interceptions, this one for 26 yards, end Alan Branch found an opportunity to bury Taylor Lewan and appeared to knock him out.

“It’s a weird angle, I think it’s a cheap shot, you can’t go back on a player like that, they’ve taught us that,” Dennis Kelly said. “Taylor is

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Warned that 'indecisive equals ineffective,' Marcus Mariota showed us how it works

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – It’s fair, if super-patient, to say Marcus Mariota needs a bit of time in the new offense to go out and win them games.

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It’s also fair to say at the start of his fourth year, he simply cannot lose them. And he played too big of a role, pre-injury, in the Titans'openingn-day, 7-hour and eight-minute undoing against the Dolphins, an ugly 27-20 loss.

Nine completions in 16 attempts for 103 yards with two interceptions and a 36.2 passer rating along with three runs for 15 yards is, to put it mildly, insufficient.

People got fired for their failure to maximize his skills. A system has been built around him. If it’s not all clicking yet, that’s understandable.

But when he’s got Luke Stocker open on a pretty play design he’s got to get it to him quickly and with enough on it that the tight end

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Titans could well be doomed without Delanie Walker

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- They are holding out hope he's not finished for the season, but the visual evidence of Delanie Walker's ankle/foot injury in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 7-hour sure suggest he's not going to be in their huddle anytime soon.MDI 2

He didn't need emergency surgery in South Florida and went back to Nashville with the team, a good sign but one offset by how quickly a trainer tossed a towel over the foot and how fast the cart came on the field to take him off.

"Our thoughts and our prayers are with him," Mike Vrabel said. "It certainly didn't look good where I was standing and I'm sure it didn't look any better from where you guys were either."

We saw nothing during the 27-20 loss to suggest the Titans have anyone who has the same rapport with Marus Mariota and the same penchant for production.

It's not like he was rolling in this one, but we know his history. And Corey Davis catching just six of 13 balls throw his direction, even though some were off target and not on him, doesn't suggest he's taking over the No. 1 reliable weapon role soon.

Here's my video report on the Titans minus Walker.

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The market will take care of itself and you will go to whatever you will go to.

While it’s interesting to monitor tickets bought and tickets used and attendance and non-attendance at local sporting events, I’ve long maintained I don’t expect people to go to them.

It’s on the teams and events to create the excitement to prompt you to want to be there.USSoccer

So I think this is the first time in my life I’m urging anyone to buy tickets. (And he's a route to getting them cheaper that TicketMaster is selling them for: Call my sponsor, Tennessee Tickets at 931 398-4253. They'll get them from TicketMaster, sell them to you cheaper than face, you'll be happy and they'll have prompted you to come back for that tougher ticket you're looking for another time.)

But the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team plays Mexico at Nissan Stadium on Tuesday night.

And after a hearty debate about the MLS Stadium in Nashville and its passage in a recent vote, we lost sight of what is really a more important soccer story for the city.

The United States is the primary host of the 2026 World Cup, and Nashville is one of the U.S. cities under consideration to host games. I wrote in June that I think it’s got a better than 50-50 chance.

While MLS support will certainly help Music City’s case, Sept. 11 gives us a big opportunity to make a big showing that can get the attention of both FIFA and U.S. Soccer.

The parties on the streets for the Predators two recent playoff pushes were a great catalyst. The Titans’ uniform unveiling was too. Next spring, Nashville hosts the NFL Draft and, we’d expect, some more significant Stanley Cup Playoff hockey.

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Pickers mailbag: The delay in Matt LaFleur-to-Marcus Mariota communication

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Kickoff is near.

So it's time for you to catch up on a week's worth of what we've had brewing here, especially Blake Beddingfield's preview of the Titans' season opener.

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On to your questions, a solid batch.

Also, you'll want to catch up on this week's public broadcast.

No onto your quality batch of questions. (No Anthony Firkser in here, just a great picture by Russell Roberts.) 

Jamie Zaleski Is the extra step of play calling from LaFleur to O’Hara to Mariota going to slow down the play clock and tempo?

PK: It’s just the way it works. Mike Heimerdinger and Dowell Loggains were on the sideline as coordinators, at least most of the time. But five others were all in the box, I believe.

It killed the Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV. Before a crucial completion from Steve McNair to Erron Kinney in the second half, the Titans had to burn a timeout. Les Steckel’s call to QB coach Bart Andrus got messed up by Andrus as he called it into McNair.

If the Titans had that timeout, they may have had one more crack at the end zone at the end when Kevin Dyson was short.

Others have said they are disappointed to learn that LaFleur won't be in Marcus Mariota's ear until the coach-to-quarterback device

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Scout's take: The key matchups for the Titans in Miami

Blake Beddingfield was a Titans' scout for 19 years, through the 2017 draft. He was the team's director of college scouting for his final six years. He's brought to you by Party Fowl

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special contributor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Miami Dolphins were a 6-10 team in 2017, with one of those wins coming against the Tennessee Titans.

This will be a different game this year due to major personnel changes on both sides. The biggest one for both teams is each will have their starting quarterback back.MariotaBucsPractice

Recent success in the NFL has been about how teams use personnel matchups on both sides of the ball. Hours are spent each week by the coaching staffs to devise a game plan to use their personnel to exploit the weaker players on an opposing team. Coaching and player tendencies will also be focused on. The team that has more options in crucial situations (third down or red zone) are harder to figure out and have a greater chance of success.

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